Libby Chamberlin has been watching birds for 30 years.
For her winter travels this year, she decided to stay at Everglades National Park, where she is taking advantage of activities offered to visitors, including a bird walk called the Big Day Birding Adventure.
“It gives an opportunity for especially new birders who don’t know anything, to help guide them in knowing what to look for and how they can be more successful with their bird-watching [and] help them identify birds that they may not know the species and give a name to those birds,” said Chamberlin, 68, who travels to national parks with her husband every year.
The Big Day Birding Adventure is a citizen science activity, where participants count birds within the diverse Everglades habitat.
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The bird walks are offered six times through the winter, the most convenient time to spot various species because, since birds migrate South around this time of the year.
Sunday, Jan. 10, was the first Big Day Birding Adventure of the season.
The six-hour journey began at 8 in the morning in the Anhinga Trail parking lot, four miles past the main entrance to the park, 15 miles southeast of Homestead.
The group met with the park ranger who guided them through the day.
With a booklet in hand, each person walked through the diverse zones of the park and stopped to observe different birds, while jotting down the species and the quantity that they saw. Anhingas, great blue herons and vultures were among the birds spotted. Turtles and gators were also seen throughout the trail.
“What we have found, is that the more people that we get to come to our bird walks, the more interested they become in birds in general, so they really become more interested in national history all around,” said Christi Carmichael, the park ranger that served as a tour guide.
Both tourists and South Florida residents participate in the walks.
Jose Elias is a Miami musician who will be staying in the Everglades National Park for the full month of January. The arrangement is thanks to the Artists in Residency in the Everglades program, which allows artists the opportunity to live in the park for one month to support arts and culture heritage of the Everglades.
During his stay, Elias’ goal is to document sounds made by birds, insects and alligators, which he plans to take into a music studio and make a musical piece that he will gift to Everglades National Park.
He participates in the bird walks to learn about various species and their specific sounds.
“They sing songs. They’re messengers. They all have something to say, so I feel they’re by far the best ambassadors as far as a song goes in the wild,” said Elias, 41. “The way I’m processing it as far as the outcome of the whole piece, is taking what they sing and the sounds of those songs and embellishing them in a way that highlights them.”
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If you go:
What: Big Day Birding Adventures
Where: The Everglades National Park, Anhinga Trail
When: Jan. 24, Feb. 7, Feb. 21, March 6 and March 20, at 8:00 a.m.
Cost: Entrance to park is $20
Details: For more information visit http://www.nps.gov/ever